Patent suit over, new materials on way

3D Systems has reached an agreement with Sanders Design International to settle a patent infringement suit relating to the manufacturing of 3D objects.

3D Systems has reached an agreement with Sanders Design International International (SDI) of Wilton, NH to settle a patent infringement suit that was pending in US District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

Under the terms of the settlement, 3D Systems licensed to SDI the Helinski patent, US Patent No. 5,136,515 to which 3D Systems obtained an exclusive license with enforcement rights earlier this year.

According to the settlement, all parties agreed that the Helinski patent was valid and had been infringed by SDI and entered a consent judgement to that effect.

SDI will pay for past infringement for all machines manufactured or in production as of the date of the settlement agreement and will pay 3D Systems a running royalty of 6% for all future systems manufactured under the patent and for all consumables hereafter sold for use in its machines.

‘While all parties agree that the patent was infringed, we felt that it was the best business decision for all parties to grant SDI a license to the patent,’ said Brian K. Service, 3D Systems’ Chief Executive Officer.

‘SDI has created a profitable business and by granting the license to the patent, we continue to expand industry utilisation of solid imaging technologies,’ he added.

The license granted to SDI is non-exclusive, non-transferable, and non-sub-licensable. SDI does not have the right to have the machines manufactured for it by others.

Sanders Design International’s machines use multiple ink jets to deposit layers of two different materials (a support material and a building material) to build three dimensional parts. After the build is complete, the support material is removed, leaving the finished part ready for use. The Helsinki patent is a basic patent for the concurrent ink jetting of two materials to build three-dimensional objects.

3D Systems also recently announced that it has made significant progress in developing additional materials for use in its SLS systems and plans to introduce four of them between the end of 2002 through the first half of 2003.

The new material offerings will include the next version of LaserForm steel material as well as Aluminium, Fire Retardant Nylon and A6 steel material.

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